The San Diego Open has named sports icon and champion of equality Billie Jean King as Honorary Tournament Chairperson.
The ATP 250-Level tournament is set for Monday, September 27 through Sunday, October 3rd at Barnes Tennis Center.
King is one of the first female activist athletes, winner of 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles, and the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She founded the Women’s Tennis Association, Women’s Sports Foundation, and co-founded and was the former majority owner of World TeamTennis. King also founded Billie Jean King Enterprises and the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative.
“Congratulations to the San Diego Open for being the first ATP Tour event in San Diego. It is facilities like the Barnes Tennis Center and professional tennis tournaments like this that are so important to provide access and opportunities for the next generations of tennis players to see the best players in the world compete and hopefully be motivated to reach greater heights on and off the tennis court,” King said.
King, who was born in Long Beach, California, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame as an individual in 1987 and again in 2021 as part of the Original 9 of women’s tennis. In 2006, the National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, in honor of her accomplishments on and off the court. Her defeat of Bobby Riggs in the historic Battle of the Sexes in 1973, is one of the greatest moments in sports history.
In August, the Barnes Tennis Center hosts the annual USTA Billie Jean King Girls’ 18s & 16s National Championships which are the premiere hard court tennis tournaments for amateur and professional American girls aged 16 and 18 and under in the United States.
“We couldn’t have been more pleased when Billie Jean King agreed to serve as the Honorary Chair of the San Diego Open. She has been incredibly supportive of everything happening at the Barnes Tennis Center and her decision to accept this title validates the great things happening here in San Diego,” said Bill Kellogg, a member of the San Diego Open Tournament Committee.
“The tournament wanted to honor a tennis legend with strong ties to Southern California. We could not think of a better choice than Billie Jean King,” said San Diego Open Tournament Director Ryan Redondo. “We are proud to have her as our Honorary Tournament Chairperson.”
The ATP 250 tournament features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw.
The event offers a total of $600,000 in prize money and tournament champions will receive 250 points in the FedEx ATP Rankings.
Tickets for the San Diego Open can be purchased at www.barnessdopen.com.
Photo credit: Laureus World Sports Awards